Every year we lose valuable surgery time because of patients failing to attend their appointments or cancelling at short notice. This makes it more difficult for us to accommodate our patients in need of urgent treatment, for existing patients to book appointments and for new patients to register here. It also cost the surgery a considerable amount of money.
Under NHS regulations, we are unable to charge NHS patients who fail to attend for their appointments or who cancel at short notice (less than 24 hours’ notice is insufficient notice).
A patient who fails to attend their appointment or cancels at short notice, will be sent a letter (including this policy), warning them that they will lose their NHS entitlement here, if they fail to attend or cancel at short notice again within a 3-year period. In the event that a further appointment is missed or cancelled at short notice within this 3-year period, we will withdraw the offer of NHS treatment at this practice. Should they wish to remain a patient here, they will need to register here on a private basis.
Discretion may be used if there is a good reason for the appointment being missed.
As with all medical facilities, we aim to see our patients on time but due to the nature of health care, this is not always possible. However, if a patient turns up late for their appointment so that treatment cannot be carried out, this will be regarded as failing to attend.
New NHS Patients
We have had a very high percentage of new NHS patients, often whole families, failing to attend their appointments. New patients who fail to attend their first appointment or cancel it at short notice, will no longer been seen at this practice as NHS patients. Should they wish to remain a patient here, they will be placed at the bottom of the waiting list (providing the waiting list is open).
NHS Patients Attending Appointments for Private Treatment
To cover the surgery running costs a charge of £1.50 per minute will be made for private treatment appointments that have been missed or cancelled at short notice. (For example, a missed 30 minute appointment will incur a charge of £45.00)
Text reminders are available for all appointments on request. If we have your mobile phone number on file, a reminder text can be sent to you a few days before your appointment. All text messages sent by our system are logged when successfully sent. It is your responsibility to check your text messages and to ensure that we are informed of any changes to your mobile phone number. We will assume that you have received your reminder if it has been logged as successfully sent.
Please note, text messages are sent out of courtesy, not necessity. It is your responsibility to turn up on time for an appointment. Failure of the text messaging system for any reason is not sufficient reason for failing to attend or turning up too late for treatment.
This policy does not affect your ability to seek NHS care at another NHS practice.
When will we not offer NHS care?
We can refuse to provide NHS dental care if:
- The practice has no spare capacity or is trying to reduce a waiting time problem
- A patient wishes to have a type of treatment not available within primary NHS dental care, for example: purely cosmetic treatments, certain types of non-essential crown and bridgework, dental implants, sports mouthguards
- The practice is not able to provide the specialist care required, for example: orthodontics, sedation, domiciliary (home) visits. In these cases we will refer appropriately.
- A patient has been violent or abusive to practice personnel (see violence and aggression policy).
- A patient has a bad debt with the practice
- A patient has failed to attend appointments
- If the patient is late for their appointment a new appointment will be scheduled
Your dentist will explain to you if any of your treatment can not be carried out under the NHS and will discuss the costs involved.
When the Practice cancels on the patient
BSDP reserves the right to cancel any appointment with more than 24 hours notice*
This will be done via phone call in the first instance followed up by the preferred contact preference (SMS, E-mail or letter).
*When a dentist is absent through sickness any gaps in the remaining dentists appointment books will be reserved for emergency spaces. Patients will be called to be informed that their dentist will not be able to see them on that day and another appointment will be made for another day. Any emergencies will still be seen.